November 8, 2014

Quick Thoughts on Text Editors

I’m a glutton for text editors. Always trying new ones, never seemingly satisfied.

Right now, my main editor is Coda 2.5 from Panic. I’ve had a Coda license for years, and the latest iteration is its best yet. There’s something about the one-window web development mantra that suits me, and Panic does it better than anyone. But, Coda is not without its problems.

Even with the speed improvements in 2.5, it is sometimes frustratingly slow to start up. When working in the “golden preview setup”, the preview flickers constantly, which is oddly distracting. And I’ve run into problems editing files with less-common extensions, like YAML files, because I didn’t manually add in syntax highlighting for said extension.

My biggest gripe is that I have yet to get Emmet to play nicely with Coda. There’s gotta’ be a way to do it, but I haven’t found out how. I’ve made do with Coda’s ‘clips’, and love the feature, but really, really miss Emmet’s ‘expand abbreviation’ feature. Coding is so damned fast with Emmet. Sigh.

So, I’m always trying out new ones. Right now, I have the following in my dock:

When I’m working on emails for Litmus, it’s in Builder - but I need something for more than just email.

Out of the three editors listed above, I’m actually digging Brackets a lot. I’m comfortable with Sublime Text 2, having used it for a long time, but I love how Brackets handles extensions. Plus, the Live Preview feature is fantastic. I know I can get the same effect using any of the editors with something like LiveReload or CodeKit—and occasionally use CodeKit for compiling Sass—but I’ve had problems with slowness and them just not refreshing at all. Plus, I hate having to pop open yet-another-app. Remember, I like the one-window approach.

Atom is cool, but I honestly haven’t given it as much of a trial as I should. It seems more-or-less comparable to both Sublime Text and Brackets, so I haven’t bothered much… yet.

So, Coda 2 remains my editor of choice. But, I’m open to suggestions if anyone has some for better text editors.

What’s your favorite text editor and why? Let me know.